by Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha
This article explains the basics of Alaats, its usage and how does it help us to build a bridge between our practice of HIS Daena in this material world and its effect in HIS divine world. Your knowledge on Mithra-Manthra-Yasna- Tarikat with basics of cosmogenesis and ritual-related divinities affecting Urvaan will help you undesrtand the contents of this articles. The contents of this article may sound heavy for those are not familiar with the esoteric side of our religion. In that case I recommend to refer to my articles on Zarathustri Identity, Zarathustri Soul and, Tarikats of Zarathustri Daena on this Traditional Zoroastrianism site, prior to reading this article for gaining basic understanding of the concepts and applications.
Lets start with the meaning of Alaat. In Avesta "Alaat" is referred as 'Zaothra' meaning, - instrument; a way to perform; means to attune with nature, a method to fulfill wishes. One of the way to attune with the world of Ahura is by using Manthras that is woven with divinity of Zaothra found in Pav-Mahal of 33 Alaat used in Yazashne. As per Vendidad Pargarad 5:40, a Zaothra possesses Ahura's presence (Ahura's Gaas), and thus, it is also known as Alaat - an instruments to drive away any Druj or material irregularities and inconsistencies in nature. There are 33 Alaats used in Yazashne ceremony which are divided into four categories: 17 Mineral Kingdom (Jamadat), 8 Vegetation (Nabatat), 4 Animal Kingdom (Hevanat), 4 Elements of Khorshed-Meher (Ravi); that makes it total 33 Alaats olf Yazashne. When Paigambar Saheb initiated Yazashne on Geti using these 33 Alaats, HE established a 'power station' on earth to connect with "Gaas" in Nisti to indirectly link Yasna attributes to the Minoi-Gaas thus, to help us attuned with Hasti or Minoi world with Manthras and Alaats that HE bestowed upon us for our Urvaan's progression. In Fravardin Yast 23:84, "Yaesham Raokshnaongho Pantano Avayatam Avi Zaothrao." Meaning, 'the paths that leads to their (Yazads & Ameshahspands) Alaats are made of Yazadic light, Noor'. The Manthras of Yazashne forms a Kehrpa of Yazashne, a Fareshta equivalent to a Yazad that remains inside the Alaats to help Urvaan attain salvation.
The Sudreh & Kusti on Zarathustri, a priest performing ritual/ ceremony, milk extracted from goat for Yazashne ceremony, instruments arranged on marble stone in high liturgical ceremonies, Varsyaji used for Gomez, a bell used in Bouy ceremony, instruments used in Jashan ceremony, fire in all common & high liturgical ceremonies, are some few examples of Alaats that most of us are familiar with. In this article we will see how these Alaats are useful for us in attaining our spiritual goal by taking birth in a particular religion, family, place and, time in this material world - A goal to release Dravao attached with our Urvaan to advance towards Anagra-Raochao (endless lights). Sarosh Yazad is the Lord of the 8th heaven of the zodiac called "Anagra- Raochao". From here all souls trail down for transmutation of their Drava, evil into Gao, Goodness. This heaven contains all materials for the creation of the worlds below, each at its right time in Nature. Sarosh is the generic name for all the Yazadic Intelligence functioning for Ahura, whose work is to cause purification of souls through the creation of the Universe.
A series of processes that lead to the creation of universe are highly mystical, divine and complicated. Dadar Ahura-Mazda created this universe with the power of Yazashne using 33 "steps", also known as 33 Zaothra (Alaats) for controlling the functioning of its operation. HIS organization took place in the divine world (Hasti) where HE created Yazads with Noori Kehrpa (glowing divine, subtle form of body) are free from any limits and they are permanent parts of Zarvane Akarne, unlike humans who are designed to pass through several spiritual processes to clear Dravao attached with Urvaan that has to work for its limit - Zarvane Drego Khadhat. (We have to WORK for out passage through Nisti and become a part of Anagra-Raochao to join 'Ahu' at its horizon.) Because of their Noori Kehrpa, they are designated as "Nar" in HIS world (Hasti). In simple terms, a 'Nar' means, someone possessing 'Kshathra' which is a qualification of freedom from earthly obligations to gain a place in HIS 'divine world' (Hasti). Such Souls (Yazads) practice Ahu-Parasniti unlike human who are constantly engage in Khud-Parasti (self-glorifying attitude). Obviously, we, humans are far from acquiring "Kshthra", (Noor) and become 'Nar' but, don't you forget that we have a Path that guides us to become one. The divine world (Hasti) is free from Dravao or, 'Pavi-Kat' (under purified boundries) where Fravashis of Bunde-Manashni (Yazads) functions in accordance with the Laws of Ahunavar or AhunVairya. Because of their level of 'divinity' and 'obedience' to Ahu, they possess the power of having 33 staotic steps (3+3=6 Gahambars means, creation of this Universe) to convert Dravao, that is "Nizbereto" 'moved' to Nisti, into good with the power of HukhKshathra and make them dedicated to Ahu-Parasti. The 33 'steps' that Ahura took to create this universe, are 33 'Zaothra' of Yazashne that is within HIM through which HE created this universe. Since Yazads are the creators and care-takers of this Universe under Him, they use the same 33 'Zaothra' that becomes a part of them by their working under HIM, to manage the functioning of HIS creations.
In the cleansing process, those souls who are 'processed' for releasing Dravao completely, were absorbed as 33 Ratu's of Hasti; thus making 33 Ahu's and 33 Ratu's of the divine world working for the salvation of other Souls. This 33 Ratu's (Zaothra) appears in the explanation of 33 Alaats of Yazashne ceremony. Under HIS blue-print, there are three world: Hasti (divine), Nisti (Non- Physical), Geti (Physical world).
It is clear from the above explanation that Nisti is created by Yazads with the power of 33 Zaothra or Ahu who made 33 Ratu's to manage HIS divine world. Let's go a bit further and see how Paigambar Saheb took the help of these 33 Ahu's and 33 Ratu's for us to practice HIS Daena. Hasti is in PaviKat, free from Dravao whereas Nisti is only partially in such status which is called "Gaas" as Nisti has Soul's that are not completely free from Dravao. Nisti is partially in PaviKat because Yazads have controlled a portion of Nisti, which is one like Hasti. By establishing such an isolated place in Nisti in connection with Hasti, Yazads can govern and protect the organization of Nisti. When Paigambar Saheb came to Geti with Ahura's divine powers and wisdom, He revised the organization of the Gaas in Nisti to build connection with Geti. HE accomplished this task by taking a portion of Gaas of Nisti in Paivand to establish Pav-Mahal on Geti. Thus, HE linked our Pav-Mahal on Geti with Gaas on Nisti which is directly linked with Garonamana of Hasti. HE established connection with Din-e-AhuraMazda on Nisti with Din-e-Veh on Geti and attuned the activities of 33 Zaothra in PaviKat to make them work to perform Yazashne on Geti to generate the same effect, if done in Hasti. Thus, because of HIS connection with 33 Zaothra, the PaviKat or Atash Behram and Atash Adaran's Pav-Mahal is connected with Minoi-Gaas. A Karsh area on which our holy places are built, is a residence of Spenta Armaiti where Pav-Mahal is and, where six Gahambars are observed. This makes our Agiary and Atash Behram 'secured,' and 'sanctified' place on Geti for Yazadic forces found in 33 Alaats that are intrinsic parts of the divine composition of Yazashne. Thus, these Alaats are connected to a) Staota Yasna (basis of our Avesta Manthras, b) four elements of nature nurchured by Khurshed-Meher (Fire-Air-Water-Earth, including human, plants, vegetation & minerals.) These 33 Alaats exists on earth with His (Yazashne) Kshthra (glory), His Kehrpa (composed of Staota Yasna) thus making Pav-Mahal on Geti full of Minoi connections.
Lets take the most familiar Alaat that we use everyday and its efficacy in our daily life. All Zarathustri wear Sudreh-Kusti, an apparel designed for your Soul's progression. Our "tanu", 'body' is just an outside shell 'made' as per HIS divine laws - a shell that will mix with this earthly elements at the end of its journey. Sudreh is the product of Bahman Ameshspand whereas Kusti is a product of Sarosh Yazad. These two Alaats existed much before the advent of Paigambar Saheb during the Peshdadian dynasty when Paoryo-Takesh souls like Gayomard, Hoshang, Tehmurasp, Jamshed, Faredoon etc were maintaining Ahura's law and order. Since that time, we Mazdayasni Zarathjustri's are wearing these Alaats on our body for 24 hours a day. Sudreh & Kusti help us attune with HIS world. A Zarathustri is supposed to recite Kusti five times a day and do Farzyat prayers everyday regardless of his/ her worldly obligations. By wearing Sudreh & Kusti and practicing Manthras as many times in a day we can, it helps our "Baodhang" (divine wisdom) to flourish and helps us make the right decisions and do the right thing for our worldly and spiritual life. These Alaats become active to be at our benefit only if they are practiced everyday reciting Avesta Manthras. There is deep meaning behind each part of Sudreh (nine parts total) and 72 threads of Kusti and its effect on the divine magnetic field (Aipi) around us, a field that we clean in several occasions eg. when whipping Kusti three times on words like Hareman Avadeshan, Hareman Devan, Az Hama Gunah. The point that I am trying to make in this paragraph is we have in our possession divine instruments to live our life as per HIS Daena. Know it and make use of it as often as you can.
Alaats are the basis of our ritual practices. Without Alaats, we cannot perform any ceremony, Yazashne, Vendidad, Nirangdin, Jashan, Baaj, wedding, Navjote or death ceremony. As we have seen above Alaats make a divine connection with the worldly creation to attune our Manthras with the divine world in order to make an appropriate effect. It is strictly restricted to display anything other than Alaats in all of the above rituals and ceremonies. There are some Priests who display picture of family member, Paigambar Saheb, or even a statue or picture of Sai Baba in Jashan ceremony. I request all those Athravans not to use anything other than our Jashan Alaats to maintain the eefficacy of Manthras and blesssings that you are generating on that place on earth. As mentioned earlier, we use Alaats in everyday life to remain attuned and be protected by the divine forces in nature. There is Drujih all around us, trying to distract our worldly functioning directed towards spiritual development based on HIS prescribed route, rules and regulations. Don't be a victim of this worldly temptations and fleshy needs to give up HIS golden Path for your Soul. Life is a divine composition of Ahura-Mazda. Lets live by HIS prescription as we all have to WORK for our Urvaan and answer HIM one day for our spiritual development.
Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami
In His Service,
Ervad (Dr.) Hoshang J. Bhadha